Status Update on the Proposal to Amend the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations

Consultation has concluded

The Status Update on the Proposal to Amend the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations is open for comments from May 17 to June 30, 2021.

As a follow-up to the consultation on the Discussion Paper DIS-15-01, Proposal to Amend the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations, the CNSC would like to provide a status update on the regulatory project to amend the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations (GNSCR) and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations (NNIECR). These proposed changes will ensure the CNSC’s regulatory framework continues to be up-to-date and fulfills Canada’s international obligations on safeguards and non-proliferation.

The CNSC consulted on the content of these documents in 2015. This information is posted as a status update. The draft regulations will be posted for consultation in Canada Gazette, Part I by the end of 2021. The CNSC will notify subscribers once the consultation is launched. If you would like to provide comments on this status update, please click on the specific slide(s) you are interested in, and it will bring you to a discussion forum where you can submit your comments.

The Status Update on the Proposal to Amend the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations is open for comments from May 17 to June 30, 2021.

As a follow-up to the consultation on the Discussion Paper DIS-15-01, Proposal to Amend the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations, the CNSC would like to provide a status update on the regulatory project to amend the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations (GNSCR) and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations (NNIECR). These proposed changes will ensure the CNSC’s regulatory framework continues to be up-to-date and fulfills Canada’s international obligations on safeguards and non-proliferation.

The CNSC consulted on the content of these documents in 2015. This information is posted as a status update. The draft regulations will be posted for consultation in Canada Gazette, Part I by the end of 2021. The CNSC will notify subscribers once the consultation is launched. If you would like to provide comments on this status update, please click on the specific slide(s) you are interested in, and it will bring you to a discussion forum where you can submit your comments.

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    As a follow-up to the 2015 consultation on the Discussion Paper DIS-15-01, Proposal to Amend the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations, the CNSC would like to provide a status update on the regulatory project to amend the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations (GNSCR) and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import and Export Control Regulations (NNIECR). These proposed changes will ensure the CNSC’s regulatory framework continues to be up-to-date and fulfills Canada’s international obligations on safeguards and non-proliferation.


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    This is an outline of the process for developing regulations. The first phase, shown in green, highlights the importance of early consultation. For this regulatory proposal, outreach activities have taken place to inform stakeholders of the proposed changes to the Regulations and to seek their input. The details of the outreach activities will be discussed later.

    As described in the purple box, a draft regulatory package is being prepared. The regulatory package will include the draft regulations and a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS). CNSC is currently working with Department of Justice to prepare the draft regulations that show all the proposed amendments described in this update. The draft regulations will be made public once they are posted for consultation in the Canada Gazette, Part I.

    CNSC is also working with the Treasury Board Secretariat to develop the RIAS, which summarizes the expected impact of a regulatory initiative. It helps the public and decision-makers understand the issue that needs to be regulated, the government’s objectives, and the costs and benefits of the regulation. It also addresses who will be affected, who was consulted in developing the regulation, and how the government will evaluate and measure the performance of the regulation against its stated objectives. The RIAS is, in effect, a public accounting of the need for each regulation. 

    Once completed, the regulatory package will be sent to Natural Resources Canada. The Minister will then review the package and make a recommendation to add the regulatory proposal to an upcoming Treasury Board meeting. Treasury Board’s cabinet committee will review the package and either approve it or return it to Natural Resources Canada for further work. If the Treasury Board approves the package, the draft regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 75-day consultation period.

    After public consultation, CNSC will consider all comments received and may revise the proposed regulations and update the RIAS accordingly. CNSC staff will present to the Commission to request that the final regulations be made. The updated package will then go through the same approval process once again. However, if the regulations are approved by the Treasury Board they will be sent to the Governor in Council for final approval. If approved, the new regulations will come into force once they are published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. 


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    4 months ago

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    The consultation on Discussion Paper DIS-15-01 ran from March 4 to July 2, 2015, and 10 submissions were received. The feedback from stakeholders was positive overall, expressing support for the initiative.

    Additional outreach on the proposed safeguards changes to the GNSCR was carried out in 2016. 

    The results of these outreach activities will be discussed later in the presentation.


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    The Government of Canada has made commitments to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy through the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  Among these, Canada entered into a Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1972, as well as an Additional Protocol to that Agreement in 2000.  As part of its safeguards obligations, Canada has committed to report all nuclear material (generally: uranium, plutonium-239 and thorium excluding ores) as well as nuclear fuel cycle-related research and manufacturing to the IAEA, even if the latter does not involve nuclear material.  Canada must also grant access to the IAEA to verify its declarations. 

    The CNSC's current regulatory framework requires that only licensees need to report and grant inspection access to the IAEA. For persons undertaking low-risk activities and that are not required to have a CNSC licence, this reporting and inspection access is currently achieved on a voluntary basis and upon CNSC request.

    In order to meet its international obligations, the CNSC proposes to amend the GNSCR to expand the safeguards reporting and access requirements, and to make these requirements mandatory for all organizations that:

    • possess any quantities of uranium, plutonium-239 or thorium
    • are engaged in nuclear fuel cycle-related research and development activities, even if they do not involve uranium, plutonium-239 or thorium
    • are engaged in the manufacture of specified nuclear-related technologies

    In 2016, the CNSC contacted licensees, as well as organizations that do not have a CNSC licence, that would potentially be impacted by those changes.

    Key stakeholders recognize the nature of the commitments that Canada has made and the need to reflect those commitments in regulations.


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    Licensees have increasingly been using electronic means to transfer their prescribed information, through downloads, email and internet access. The current requirement to present a physical copy of their licence to a customs officer when exporting prescribed information places impractical constraints on licensees. 

    Therefore, the CNSC proposes removing that requirement from section 18 of the GNSCR. Licensees will still be required to obtain a CNSC licence when importing or exporting prescribed information, but they will not need to present a physical copy of their licence to customs officers. The CNSC will continue to inspect licensee records to confirm these types of imports and exports.

    The requirement for licensees to present their licence to customs officers when importing or exporting nuclear substances or prescribed equipment will remain.  

    Stakeholders were very supportive of the proposal to amend section 18 of the GNSCR.


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    4 months ago

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    Canada also has international obligations pursuant to the Zangger Committee and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the harmonization of nuclear export control policies. Canada ensures that these international obligations are met by incorporating the international standards and export control lists derived by these groups into the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) and other legislation, and in regulations. Therefore, the CNSC is proposing to update the schedule of the NNIECR to reflect the amendments made to the export control lists.

    These export control lists were fully revised in 2013. The majority of those changes were to add new entries and add clarity to existing entries.

    As described in the following slides, the CNSC is also proposing additional amendments to provide further clarity for licensees on applicable entries and to adapt the export lists to the Canadian content. 

    Overall, feedback from stakeholders indicated support for maintaining international alignment with our nuclear import and export controls.


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    The NNIECR schedule includes requirements for certain listed items that are deemed to pose a low proliferation risk. In order to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden on licensees, the CNSC is proposing to include exemptions for items deemed to be of low proliferation risk (i.e., that could not be used for the development of nuclear weapons).

    Some examples are the import of nuclear grade graphite that is not for use in a nuclear reactor, and tritium contained in watches, compasses, musical instruments or used as biological tracers. However, dispersed tritium used in other items, such as light devices, would remain in the schedule.

    Feedback from stakeholders was supportive of the proposed exemptions to schedule entries.


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    The CNSC is also taking the opportunity to revise the section on the licence application in order to require additional information from applicants. While the information presently requested on the licence application is adequate, the addition of certain supplementary information would help improve the safety oversight provided.

    The CNSC is proposing to request the applicant’s Canada Revenue Agency-assigned business number, which would help the Canada Border Services Agency validate CNSC licences to import or export controlled nuclear substances, equipment or information. The email address would also be added to the licence application to align with current administrative practices and to give an additional contact information to the CNSC.

    The addition of anticipated transit states will allow the CNSC to assess if any states pose a potential risk of diversion that could eventually contribute to proliferation.

    With regard to the addition of the compliance procedures, the intention is that applicants will implement written procedures to ensure compliance with import and export controls under the NSCA. These procedures will be assessed as part of the licence application to ensure applicants meet the requirements. Unless significant changes are made to the procedures, licensees would only need to provide them once and refer to them for subsequent licence applications.

    Stakeholders generally supported this proposal, but expressed some concern for smaller stakeholders that currently might not have written import and export procedures. Although this new requirement may increase the regulatory burden on smaller licensees, it would be a one-time compliance exercise and would impose minor costs. 

    Despite this minor increase in administrative burden, the CNSC anticipates that the overall amendments will result in a reduction of costs for licensees. 


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    The last proposed amendment is related to record retention requirements. The NNIECR currently does not specify the expected record retention period. The GNSCR states that, if no period is specified in the regulations, records must be kept for one year after the expiry of the licence.  

    The CNSC proposes adding a six-year record retention requirement in the NNIECR for all records relevant to any import or export made pursuant to a CNSC licence, which would align with the:

    • Export and Import Permits Act
    • Imported Goods Records Regulations
    • Exporters’ and Producers’ Records Regulations pursuant to the Customs Act

    Stakeholder feedback was supportive of this proposed amendment, since stakeholders are already required by the above-mentioned legislation to retain their records for six years.


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    The CNSC is working on finalizing the RIAS and draft regulations and is planning to seek approval to have the regulatory package pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in 2021.

    Stakeholders who have registered for the CNSC’s subscription list will receive notification when the consultation is launched. 


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